Tag Archives: Lovina Eicher

Fond memories—and peanut butter cups—grace year’s end

We are almost to the end of 2014. A brand new year lies ahead. What will it have in store for us? If we would know, would we be able to go on? Anything is possible if we let God lead the way and keep our full trust in him.

As I sit here thinking of how my family always spent New Year’s Day, a lot of memories come to my mind. When my maternal grandparents were still living they would have their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren home for the Christmas gathering. The day would start out early. We would get up early to get the cows milked and have breakfast. We lived very close to my grandparents, so some of the uncles, aunts and cousins would start gathering at our house as soon as breakfast was done.

It would still be very dark outside, and all of us children would be so excited. We would all walk over to my grandparents’ house in the dark, and sometimes we had a lot of snow to trudge through. We lived on a road that wasn’t traveled much back then, so it was an enjoyable walk. My grandparents had eight children and more than 80 grandchildren. Uncle Henry and Aunt Barbara lived in the big house attached to Grandpa and Grandma’s little house. They would set up tables in their dining room and living room to seat all the adults and the older children. The younger ones were fed before everyone else ate.

When we arrived at Grandpa and Grandma’s, all of us would stand outside their door singing the traditional New Year’s Song in German. The New Year’s Song is a song wishing everyone a good year. The English translation is as follows:

’Tis time now to welcome the happy new year,
God grant you to live and enjoy the new year.
Good fortune and blessings to dwell in your home,
God grant you such blessings in this year in your home.
In heaven before the great heavenly throne,
God grant thee reward in that heavenly home.
In closing this year we repeat this one wish,
God grant you on high once that heavenly bliss.

While it was being sung, everyone would go into the house. All of us grandchildren would line up to take our turn to wish Grandpa and Grandma a happy new year and give them a kiss. They would sit in their hickory rocking chairs.

After the noon meal was over and the dishes were all washed, Grandpa and Grandma would pass out gifts to all of us. For the grandchildren it was usually a dish of some kind, or a mug. And we would all get a lunch-sized bag with candy and an orange in it. I remember how my cousins and I would dump all our candy out of our bags and look at it before putting it back in our bags to take home. My mother would mark all the dishes they gave us and what year we got them. When I got married, I had a different dish or mug for every year.

After Grandpa and Grandma died, my parents always had our family Christmas gathering on New Year’s Day. We would all gather there for breakfast and set the tables again for the noon meal.

I will share with you my mother’s recipe for peanut butter cups. She would make these every Christmas season. She would have to hide them from us children as we loved them so much!

I wish all of you God’s richest blessings in the New Year 2015 and always!

Peanut Butter Cups

2 pounds peanut butter
1 pound margarine
3 pounds powdered sugar
melted semi-sweet chocolate

Mix peanut butter and margarine. Then work in powdered sugar until smooth. Shape into balls the size of big marbles. Dip in melted chocolate.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Christmas countdown energizes Eicher children

Christmas Day is only days away. Daughter Lovina, 10, and son, Kevin, 9, are keeping track of exactly how many days. Every morning they mark off another day on the calendar. Oh, to be so young and carefree, with only worries such as how many days there are until Christmas!

Lovina and Kevin will both be in the elementary school Christmas program on Thursday evening. Next year Lovina will be a fifth grader and in middle school. This is her last Christmas program and Kevin has only next year—unbelievable! My husband Joe and I used to sit in the audience with the little ones while our older children were in the program. Now the six oldest children are back in the audience sitting with us, and our two youngest children are in the program.

On Friday the school will only have a half day of school. Lovina and Kevin’s classes are having a gift exchange. Kevin is so worried that he doesn’t have his gift wrapped yet. I want to make snacks for their party, and he reminds me every evening not to forget.

We were disappointed to hear that our children’s bus driver, Rich, has quit driving the bus route. He was a great bus driver to our children for almost eleven years. Daughter Loretta, 14, with her handicap needs more time to walk out to the bus and to get up the steps. Rich was always very patient and caring. So far they have had only a substitute driver, but the children are hoping the next bus driver will be like Rich was. We wish Rich well at his new job.

Joe will have his forty-sixth birthday on Monday, Dec. 22. I want to have a birthday supper in his honor but am undecided yet which night to have it.

On Sunday the women in our church all decided what each one of us would bring to the annual Christmas potluck. I plan to take a large roaster with a pasta casserole. The potluck will be after our next church services, which will be on Dec. 28.

Joe and I will have our family Christmas on Christmas Day. The children usually want to open their presents before they eat, so we usually end up having a brunch. May we always remember the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season!

I wish all of you readers a joyous Christmas that brings blessings of peace and hope now and through the coming year 2015. May each of you stay healthy and enjoy being with family and friends through the holiday season. And most importantly, let us thank our Heavenly Father for bringing Jesus our Savior into the world so that our sins can be forgiven. Blessed wishes to all!

This week I will share with you the recipe for sour cream cut-out cookies. We like this recipe to make Christmas cookies.

Making sour cream cut-out cookies takes time—to mix up the dough, roll them out, cut out and bake—but the Eicher family comes back to this recipe year after year.
Making sour cream cut-out cookies takes time—to mix up the dough, roll them out, cut out and bake—but the Eicher family comes back to this recipe year after year.

Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vanilla
3 1/2–4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting:
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk
food coloring (optional)
colored sprinkles (optional)
chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until it forms soft but firm dough. Roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness on a floured surface. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the dough. Place the shapes on the prepared pan.

Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting: Cream the shortening, vanilla and 1 cup powdered sugar. Gradually add the milk and the rest of the powdered sugar, beating constantly. More powdered sugar can be added to make a thicker icing. Food coloring can also be added. Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Decorate with colored sprinkles or chocolate chips if desired.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Did your Thanksgiving turkey have a fever?

Oh my! We are already into the last month of 2014. Where did this year go?

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone. Although it’s not the only day that we need to thank God for our blessings, on that day we are especially reminded of all that we are thankful for. My list seems endless—family, friends, church, and so many more. I feel one blessing I should mention is the editors at MennoMedia. They deserve a lot of credit for the fact that this column is still going, as does my good friend Ruth, who has been by my side through good and bad. Trusted friends are rare, and they have been so good to me. Writing the columns isn’t always easy, but knowing you have a firm foundation makes it so much easier.

I also want to thank all of you readers for your words of encouragement. To those of you who send a stamped self-addressed envelope: bear with me, please. A reply will come, but forgive me for not always getting back to you sooner. Last but not least, I want to thank our Heavenly Father for his guidance through our most difficult trials.

We spent our Thanksgiving Day at brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s house. All my siblings were present, as were all the nieces, nephews, families and special friends (except for two nieces and one nephew). The family grows more every year, and although I don’t have a total, I know it’s more than 100 now.

Albert’s family grilled 140 pounds of chicken, plus they fixed two 22-pound turkeys. Needless to say, there were so many leftovers! I won’t begin to mention all the food, but a 14-foot dining table was filled to capacity. When everyone brings food, it adds up. Snacks were served before everyone left.

We four sisters here in Michigan always have a Thanksgiving meal together. This year we all gathered over at Jacob and Emma’s on Sunday. Emma fixed two turkeys stuffed with dressing. Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter, jam, summer sausage, veggies and dip, hot peppers, pumpkin roll, pumpkin and peanut butter pies, a variety of Christmas candy and probably more that I can’t remember now. The table was set for 24 people, which is what we total now. After dishes were washed, we played games.

I got a laugh out of daughter Lovina. Sister Emma gave her the meat thermometer to hold in the turkey, to see if it was fully cooked. When someone asked her what she was doing, Lovina replied, “Aunt Emma wants to know if the turkey is running a fever.” We all thought it was funny!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan are off work this week from the factory due to a cancelled order. We (Elizabeth, Susan, Verena and I) are enjoying our week. We started it out with going Christmas shopping on Monday. We had a nice time and made more memories together. It is hard to believe my three oldest daughters have grown this much.

The Christmas season is upon us. Let us remember: Jesus is the reason for the season!

For this week’s dish, I will share a few short recipes that were served as snacks at Albert’s on Thanksgiving Day.

Fruit Dip

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
8 ounces whipped cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together well. Serve with apples or any fruit.

Cheese Ball

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 package dried beef, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
seasoning of your choice

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with your choice of crackers.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Fall family gatherings a time to reconnect

We are in the final week of October. It is a dark, dreary morning. This weekend we need to turn our clocks back an hour. I still have trouble getting used to the changing of time in the spring and fall.

My husband Joe, son Benjamin, and daughters Elizabeth and Susan are all at work. Daughters Loretta and Lovina and sons Joseph and Kevin are in school. The house is pretty quiet with just daughter Verena and me here at home. Verena is finishing up the morning work as I write this column.

Our plans for the day are to cut out quite a few pants for Benjamin. I cut out and sewed one for him yesterday as I needed a new pattern. He has grown so much and is taller than I am. The pants fit well and he wore them to work today. I didn’t want to cut out more until he tried one pair to see how it fit. I have had the material here for quite some time and always pushed the sewing to the back of my list. We also want to sew Kevin more pants. We’ll work on getting them all cut out.

I was really disappointed when sister Emma told me that aunt Lovina and uncle Abe Raber from Baltic, Ohio, and cousin Leah (Lovina’s daughter) and Elmer Schwartz from Campbellville, Ken., stopped for a visit when I wasn’t home one day last week. Lovina is my mom’s sister and we were always together growing up. I was named after her.

On Saturday, Joe’s brother Benjamin, his wife Miriam, and their children Josh, Adrianna, Beth Ann, Travis, Silas, and Victoria, from Sugarcreek, Ohio, came for a visit. Victoria is four months old and this was the first time we got to see her. She is a cutie with lots of black hair. The girls made popcorn and lemonade for everyone. The cousins don’t often see each other but it didn’t take them long to get reacquainted.

Saturday evening was so nice. We enjoyed barbecued chicken and hot wings since the weather was so nice. Also on the menu were lettuce salad, chips and ice cream. Those joining us for supper were Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend), Mose (Susan’s friend), and Marvin (Verena’s friend).

Joining us for brunch on Sunday were sisters Verena and Susan and sister Emma, her husband Jacob, and their family, as well as Timothy and Mose. Niece Elizabeth’s friend, Manuel, niece Emma’s friend, Menno, and Verena’s friend, Marvin, weren’t able to be here on Sunday as they had communion services in their church district.

Our menu for brunch was breakfast casserole, toast, strawberry jam, cheese, hot pepper butter, hot peppers, coffee, orange juice, chocolate milk, cinnamon rolls, delicious cookies, and peaches. Emma brought the cinnamon rolls, hot pepper butter, orange juice and chocolate milk. Verena and Susan brought the peaches and cookies so all I had to make was the casserole. We enjoyed a nice family day together.

Last week one evening, I made pizza using a different dough. We really liked the dough so I will share it with you readers. Enjoy!

Pizza
This week Lovina tried out a new recipe for pizza dough that she shares in the column.
Pizza3
With eight children in the household, it takes more than one pizza to feed to the family of Lovina and Joe Eicher.

Pizza2

Pizza Dough

2 packages yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2/3 cup warm water

2 cups cold water

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

6 1/2 cups flour

Mix warm water, yeast, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Let stand 5 minutes until bubbly. In separate bowl, mix cold water, 2 tablespoons sugar, garlic powder, oil, salt, oregano, and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add yeast mixture, then add rest of flour. Knead until elastic; let rise until double. Press half of dough on a greased pan. Let rise 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat with other half. Add pizza sauce and bake at 400° for 10 to 15 minutes. Add rest of toppings and bake until hot and cheese is bubbly.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

October is Lovina’s 12-year column anniversary, with four preschoolers

Another week has already gone by, which makes it time to get this column written. The weeks just fly by. I write my columns in one-subject notebooks which have amounted to quite a few in the years of penning this column. This month 12 years ago is when I wrote my first column. I think that was the hardest column for me to write.

writing
Lovina keeps all of her handwritten columns in spiral notebooks.

Joseph, 12, was my baby at that time. Elizabeth, 20, was eight and in second grade. Susan, 18, was in kindergarten and six years old. Verena was four, Benjamin three, Loretta, two. I remember how hard it was to write the column and keep an eye on the four preschoolers.

Life still seems busy now but I guess just in different ways. The children get older and each has different plans for the weekend sometimes. Last Saturday, Joseph spent the night at a friend’s house in honor of his birthday.

Susan had Mose’s sister’s two little boys here for part of the day Saturday. Loren is four and Jayden, two. Susan gave them pony rides and kept them entertained. Of course Lovina, 10, and Kevin, 9, were glad to help keep them entertained.

Elizabeth’s puppy Izzy was the only one not happy to have them here. She is not used to little children and the boys played too rough for her, so she stayed close by one of the girls.

My husband Joe started the coal stove Saturday, so the house is cozy again. Our coal was delivered for the winter. Joe hooked a [metal] jacket up around the coal stove in the basement to help get more heat up here if we need it. It has a door on the jacket we can open on days we dry laundry in the basement, to keep more heat down there. Verena and I plan to clean the basement today as dust seems to accumulate and things get misplaced. So it’s high time for another cleaning.

Saturday we had a killing frost in most places so the gardens are history for 2014.

We have two more wedding invitations on our refrigerator. Rosanne and Solomon will exchange vows on Nov. 7 and their wedding will be in Decatur, Ind. Then on Nov. 20, Edwin and Rosa Mae will exchange their vows in Rochester, Ind. We hope to attend both weddings. Both grooms are Joe’s cousin Leander’s sons. Joe and Leander had lots of good times growing up together. We wish both couples God’s blessings on their marriage and many happy, healthy years together.

This week I will share an omelet recipe I made for our breakfast on Saturday. I hope you will all like it as much as we did.

OmeletRollCropped
Two yummy breakfast omelet rolls for the Eicher family.

Meat and Cheese Omelet Roll

4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
1 1/2 cups meat (chopped bacon, sausage, ham, smokies, etc.)
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1/4 cup onions
1/4 cup green peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth, then add flour and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs and then add cream cheese mixture. Cut wax or parchment paper to fit jelly roll pan. Pour into jelly roll pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until puffy and golden. While that is baking, chop meat, vegetables and shred the cheese. When omelet is done, remove from oven and spread with mustard, then layer meat, onions, pepper and cheese. Roll into jelly roll fashion, removing the paper from the omelet as you roll. Serve with salsa or cheese sauce.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Fall treats: Driving the buggy through fall colors, a hog roast, cider and popcorn

 

The Eicher household dog, Izzy, finds a cozy spot of sunshine in a doorway.
The Eicher household dog, Izzy, finds a cozy spot of sunshine in a doorway.

First of all, I would like to thank all the readers for their support and many kind words of encouragement I have received. Including a self-addressed stamped envelope helps to get a reply back to you. It is so nice to be able to receive mail directly from my readers now.

Hundreds of leaves have already fallen from the trees around our house and we have such a beautiful array of colors on the trees. I love to drive the horse and buggy at this time of the year and take in all the beauty that only our Master Artist can create. The local farmers are busy in the fields harvesting the seed corn.

Fall scenery near the Eicher farm/home.
Fall scenery near the Eicher farm/home.

Last night we had a thunderstorm that brought some wind and hail. It is also deer hunting season with bow and arrow. Son Benjamin is eager to get his license to hunt with his bow. He has been doing target practice with Mose (daughter Susan’s friend). Mose said he thinks Benjamin is good enough to hit a deer with his bow.

Saturday we all attended the hog roast that our local feed mill had for customers. They had lots of good food that was prepared by some of the Amish women in our community. It was a cold day with the temperature staying under 50 degrees all day. The wind made it seem even colder.

My husband Joe is getting the stove ready to set up again for the winter. He had moved it when we had church services to make more room for benches. We have a coal stove in the basement and heat the whole house with it. There is a big vent in the floor that allows the heat to come up to the main floor. Our open staircase to the upstairs bedrooms allows the heat to travel up there as well. It is nice to have the mess from the coal and ashes down in the basement.

Daughter Verena and I plan to cut fabric for some pants for son Kevin, 9. I would like to teach her how to sew them. Kevin is getting so tall that he is in need of more pants. Then we also want to make son Benjamin some new pants. Since he is working every day he wears them out pretty fast. Benjamin was off work one day this week as the sawmill broke down. He is back to work as Mose has it running again.

Verena is almost done with the breakfast dishes and morning work so I best hurry around so we can start cutting out fabric and sewing.

We are enjoying cider and apples from the apple farm close by. Popcorn with that makes a good snack on cold evenings.

This week I’ll share a recipe for raw apple cake. God bless!

Lovina's deliciously moist raw apple cake.
Lovina’s deliciously moist raw apple cake.

Raw Apple Cake

2 cups sugar
4 cups chopped raw apples
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten

Combine these ingredients and allow to stand 20 minutes.

Add:

3 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped nuts

Mix all ingredients and pour in a 9 x13 greased cake pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until set.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

A pony, A wedding, and a children’s cornfield hideaway

A lovely Tuesday evening! It was a chilly 41 degrees this morning but warmed up into the 70s.

Right now it is pretty quiet in this house. Six of our children decided to go the four miles to sister Emma and Jacob’s house. Some rode the ponies and some biked. They wanted to go see Jacob’s new pony.

Joseph volunteered to stay home and do the evening chores. Elizabeth stayed to help me with supper. On our menu tonight will be fish, French fries and onion rings. That is always a favorite meal around here.

The wedding for niece Elizabeth and Samuel is now over. We wish them God’s blessings as they join hands for life. They had a beautiful wedding day. On the menu for dinner were barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, carrot salad, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, celery sticks and Nothings. Nothings are a sweet, thin pastry that has been deep-fried. Dessert was cake, cinnamon pudding, zucchini bars, a variety of cookies, mixed fruit and pies—cherry, Dutch apple, pecan and vanilla crumb. In the evening smoked sausage was added to the menu. My job was to help with the dressing. One hundred eggs were put into the dressing. I will share the recipe with you readers, but I had to reduce the recipe of 20 eggs down to 5 eggs so it will be easier for smaller batches.

There was plenty of food left over. It’s always easier to have too much than not enough. It is probably a big relief for sister Liz and Levi to have this over with. A lot of work is involved in preparing for a wedding.

The day before the wedding, daughter Verena and I traveled the two hours to Berne, Indiana, to help prepare food for the wedding. The group of us who helped made the Nothings, baked 80 pies, peeled potatoes, and chopped a lot of vegetables such as celery, carrots, onions, cauliflower, broccoli and radishes. This makes it easier to prepare salads, dressing, etc. On the day of the wedding, carrot salad was also prepared in serving bowls.

My husband, Joe, and sons Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin cleared out one of our gardens and hauled manure on it. It is now ready to till, and we will plant a cover crop. In the other garden we still have tomatoes, but otherwise I think everything is done for the season. We had a nice crop of cabbage this year, but our potatoes didn’t do so well.

Lovina’s cabbages did well this year. These heads were recently harvested from her garden.
Lovina’s cabbages did well this year. These heads were recently harvested from her garden.

The boys and daughter Lovina built a campout area by the big tree in the middle of our cornfield earlier this summer when the corn was short. They had a path through the corn to their camp. If I called for them, they could hear me. Sometimes they would go back there to read. Since it won’t be too long before the corn is harvested, they decided to take down their “camp” for the winter.

 

Lovina’s children made this campout area in their cornfield this summer.
Lovina’s children made this campout area in their cornfield this summer.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Wedding Dressing

  •  5 eggs
  • ¾ cup powdered chicken soup base
  • 1½ cups hot water
  • 18 slices bread, cubed
  • 1 cup chicken, cut up
  • 1½ cups onions, chopped
  • 1½ cups celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • ½ cup peas
  • 3¾ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup chicken fat or butter

Beat eggs. Dissolve chicken soup base in hot water. (I buy powdered chicken soup base in bulk, but you can substitute 3 or 4 chicken bouillon cubes.) Add this mixture, along with remaining ingredients, to eggs and mix well. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 375° for one hour or until well set.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Memories of loved ones flavor the week

It’s a little after 7:00 a.m. As I look out toward the east, it looks like it will be a beautiful day. The red glow of the sun is beaming over the trees. What a sight to behold. And only our Master Artist can create such wonderful art.

The four youngest children left a few minutes ago for school. My husband, Joe, daughters Elizabeth and Susan, and son Benjamin are all at work. Daughter Verena and I are alone now through the day. I am so glad for Verena’s help with laundry, gardening, cooking, and cleaning—and the list goes on. Seems like it doesn’t take long for laundry to accumulate with ten people in the family!

Today is September 17—a day that brings sad memories of the passing of my dear mother, Elizabeth Coblentz. It has now been twelve years since she so suddenly left us. Memories—that is all we have left now. She was a great mother and will remain in our hearts forever! How often I would love to talk to her and share the joys and sorrows of my family with her. God has a reason for everything, so let me leave it in His hands.

I can only imagine the busy week sister Liz is having. Her oldest daughter’s wedding is this Friday. Daughter Verena and I will travel on Thursday, with some of our relatives, to help bake pies and help with whatever has to be done for the wedding. We leave at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday. We will travel the two hours back home again Thursday evening, and then our whole family will start out at 5:00 a.m. on Friday morning for the wedding. Timothy and Mose, friends of Elizabeth and Susan, will also be going with us.

Elizabeth and Timothy and Verena’s clothes are all sewn and ready for the wedding. I still need to sew my cape and apron today. My dress is finished, so it won’t take too long.

Lovina has spent a lot of hours sewing special clothing to wear at her niece's wedding.
Lovina has spent a lot of hours sewing special clothing to wear at her niece’s wedding.

Verena will bake 100 cookies to take along for the wedding. We thought that would be a way of helping sister Liz. Wish we lived closer so that we could help her more with the wedding preparations.

God has a reason for everything, so let me leave it in His hands.

Our thoughts and prayers are with teacher Barbara Kay, 20, and her family. Barbara Kay was in an accident not too far from here, along with some other Amish teachers traveling to Indiana to teach school. Barbara Kay was hurt the worst, and doctors think she will be paralyzed. God is above all and can perform miracles. His will is what we need to pray. I think this was Barbara’s first year of teaching school. The Amish van driver, Joe, was also hurt and had a hospital stay. May God comfort all of those that were involved in the accident. The community is having a bake sale to help with hospital expenses for Barbara Kay. Let us all pray that God will give her strength to go on. How suddenly our lives can be changed.

Timothy’s brother Alvin, Rhoda, and family took brunch in to brother-in-law Jacob, sister Emma, and family on Sunday forenoon. They invited us to come also. This was in memory of Marilyn, Jacob and Emma’s youngest child; she would have been five years old on Sunday. Marilyn died at the sweet, innocent age of eight-and-one-half months. She is missed dearly, but God wanted another angel. Alvin and Rhoda’s ten-month-old daughter, Clara, passed away three years ago. The two families can sympathize with each other.

I’m taking this peaches and cream coffee cake along tomorrow to sister Liz’s house. I have one baking in the oven right now, and it smells so good!

This week's recipe is peaches and cream coffee cake. This photo is of a doubled recipe, to feed a group.

This week’s recipe is peaches and cream coffee cake. The photo is of a doubled recipe, to feed a group.

Peaches and Cream Coffee Cake

Batter:

  • ⅔ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 large can sliced peaches or 2½ cups fresh peaches, sweetened with a few tablespoons sugar

Cream Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons reserved peach juice

Topping:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Mix batter ingredients together for 2 minutes. Pour into a well-greased 8-inch round or square pan. Drain peaches, reserving juice. Arrange peaches over batter. Cream together filling ingredients and spoon over peaches. Mix cinnamon and sugar together. Sprinkle on top and bake at 350° for 30–35 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Remembering an uncle and enjoying an autumn haystack meal

Another week has passed, and it is time to get this column on its way.

Last Friday around 8:30 a.m. sisters Verena and Susan; sister Emma and her husband Jacob; and my husband, Joe, and I hired a driver with a minivan to take us to Lafayette, Ind., to Uncle Andy’s funeral. It took us more than three hours of driving time each way. All but two of Dad’s eight siblings made it to the funeral. Dad came from a family of three girls and ten boys, but eight of the boys are left now. It is sad to see the group of siblings get smaller. It was 7:30 p.m. until we made it back home safe and sound.

Baptismal church services were held at Emma and Jacob’s house on Sunday to take in two young souls as members. The services were held in a big pole barn. As baptismal church services are usually bigger in attendance, another bench wagon was borrowed from a neighboring district.

Amish baptism services are larger than normal church services, so extra benches like these are brought on the bench wagon to the house or barn where the special church service will be held.
Amish baptism services are larger than normal church services, so extra benches like these are brought on the bench wagon to the house or barn where the special church service will be held.

There were a lot of people to serve lunch to, but we had plenty of everything. Sixty-four loaves of white and wheat bread were brought in. Also on the menu were bologna, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, freezer pickles, dill pickles, pickled red beets, sliced tomatoes, strawberry jam, butter, coffee, and iced tea. There were also various kinds of cookies, such as sugar, oatmeal, chocolate chip, and chocolate crinkles.

Some of the church families and the youth were invited back for supper and singing. We had a haystack meal. A haystack is a variety of vegetables, toppings, and hamburger with taco seasoning. Sister Emma’s version consisted of layers of crushed Saltine crackers, hamburger, rice, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, chopped green peppers and onions, crushed tortilla chips, cheese sauce, and salsa. Dessert was a fresh fruit mixture of watermelon, muskmelon, grapes, and apples, as well as M&M bars, peanut butter swirl bars, Jell-O cake, and ice cream.

Daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 18, didn’t have work at the factory this week. Elizabeth is sewing her dress, cape, and apron and Timothy’s shirt for niece Elizabeth’s wedding in Berne, Ind., next week. Timothy and Elizabeth will be table waiters at the wedding. Daughter Verena, 16, will also be a table waiter at the wedding. I have her dress suit (the dress, cape, and apron) cut out but still need to sew it. The color they will wear is raspberry. I will help cook and need to wear a burgundy-colored dress suit. I still need to cut them out. It seems the weeks slip by so fast, and the wedding is suddenly closer than you think!

Lovina has been busy sewing dresses for her and her daughters for a family wedding next week. This is the dress her daughter Verena will wear as a “table waiter,” or server, at the wedding meal.
Lovina has been busy sewing dresses for her and her daughters for a family wedding next week. This is the dress her daughter Verena will wear as a “table waiter,” or server, at the wedding meal.

I need to take Joseph to his post-op checkup tomorrow. He still seems to be gaining back his health.

The girls are making bacon, scrambled eggs, and toast for our supper. I should be helping, but wanted to get this column done so I can start sewing early tomorrow morning.

Recently we picked up a lot of potatoes that the potato-picking machine missed from a neighbor’s field. They are not keepers, so we needed to get them used up. We shredded some of the potatoes to put in the freezer so that we can use them in casseroles later. This recipe is another good way to use them up. God’s blessings!

Seasoned Potato Wedges

  •  6 large potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Beat egg and milk. Combine flour and seasonings. Dip potatoes into egg-and-milk mixture. Dust with flour mixture. Place single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Bake at 450° for 20–25 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Busy butchering day proves a blessing

Today is our youngest child Kevin’s ninth birthday. Has it really been that long? It was also the first day of school, so he was a tired little boy tonight. Daughter Verena baked a horseshoe-shaped cake for him today since I wasn’t home all day. He requested a horseshoe cake and wanted chocolate cake.

Lovina's youngest child, Kevin, turned 9 this week, and his older sister made him this horseshoe cake.
Lovina’s youngest child turned nine this week, and his older sister made him this horseshoe cake.

Foremost on our minds is the sad news that Uncle Andy Coblentz, 81, passed away last night. He was the brother right after my dad in age. Dad would be 83 if he were still here. We are glad we were able to see Uncle Andy and Aunt Caroline at the reunion in July. Our sympathy goes to Aunt Caroline and cousins Andrea, Lori, and David, and also to all the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our plans are to attend the funeral on Friday, which is over three hours from here. I’m sure Andy will be missed by many. May God be with them as they mourn for such a great man. Only God can bring us comfort in times like this.

On Labor Day we had a very busy day. A few of the girls washed the laundry while the rest of us butchered 51 chickens. In four hours we had the chickens all cut up. We soaked the meat in ice water to cool off before bagging it for the freezer. These chickens were broilers, which one can eat fresh or freeze. They were six weeks old and weighed around three and a half to five pounds. We had over 180 pounds of meat total. What a blessing to be able to put it all in the freezer for later use. We appreciated the help of Timothy and Mose, which made everything go faster. We had an assembly line, with one guy chopping off the heads of the chickens and a few people plucking the feathers after they were dipped in scalding water. Then they were gutted, cleaned and cut up into pieces. The gizzards and hearts were also saved to clean. The wings were bagged separately to be grilled for hot wings. After butchering chickens, none of us are ready for a meal of chicken for a while!

Sunday evening we had supper with sisters Verena and Susan, as brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and family were there. Albert’s married sons, Joe and Albert Jr., and their families were also there. Jacob and Emma’s children were also there, but Jacob and Emma couldn’t attend as Jacob wasn’t feeling good. We were served a good supper of barbecued chicken and all the trimmings.

My husband, Joe, doesn’t have work this week. Today Joe and I and sisters Verena and Susan traveled to Berne, Indiana. We spent most of the day at sister Liz’s house, helping her clean for the upcoming wedding of their oldest daughter, Elizabeth. Sister Leah was also there. Sister Emma has church services at her house on Sunday, so she wasn’t able to go. It was enjoyable to work together again, but we missed Emma. Tomorrow I will go help Emma with preparations for church services.

And like I don’t have enough to do, the peaches I ordered came today. Life gets too busy at times! Let us always take time for God. How easy it is to neglect God when we get busy.

Joseph, who had two surgeries recently, seems to keep gaining strength every day. We are so happy for that.

It is already 10:30 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed. I need to join them, but I knew I needed to write this column. Try this chicken biscuit stew sometime.

Wishing you all God’s richest blessings!

Chicken Biscuit Stew

  •  ¼ cup margarine or butter
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup potatoes
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1⅓ cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • ⅓ cup onions
  • biscuits

Melt butter and add flour, salt and pepper. Add milk to form a white sauce, stirring until thick. In a separate pan, boil potatoes, carrots and peas; drain. Add to white sauce and then add broth, chicken and onions. Put into 9×13 pan and top with unbaked biscuits. (You can use storebought biscuits in a tube or your own favorite biscuit recipe.) Bake at 375° for 20–25 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.